This study examines the history of the sugar economy and the peculiar development of plantation society over a three hundred year period in Bahia, a major sugar plantation zone and an important terminus of the Atlantic slave trade. Drawing on little-used archival sources, plantations accounts, and notarial records, Professor Schwartz has examined through both quantitative and qualitative methods the various groups that made up plantation society. While he devotes much attention to masters and slaves, he views slavery ultimately as part of a larger structure of social and economic relations. The peculiarities of sugar-making and the nature of plantation labour are used throughout Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society as keys to an understanding of roles and relationships in plantation society. A comparative perspective is also employed, so that studies of slavery elsewhere in the Americas inform the analysis, while at many points direct comparisons of the Bahian case with other plantation societies are also made.
"Sugar Plantation is a major contribution to our efforts to understand Bahia and its sugar and slaveholding system. It is required reading not only for specialists in Brazilian history, but for anyone interested in the question of slavery and race relations in the Americas."
- Francis A. Dutra, Hispanic American Historical Review
"Clearly destined to become a classic in the field."
- Eric Van Young, Agricultural History
List of figures, maps, and tables
Abbreviations and special terms
Weights and measures
Part I. Formations, 1500-1600
1. The sugar plantation: from the Old World to the New
2. A wasted generation: commercial agriculture and Indian laborers
3. First slavery: from Indian to African
Part II. The Bahian Engenhos and their World
4. The Reconcavo
5. Safra: the ways of sugar making
6. Workers in the cane, workers at the mill
7. The Bahian sugar trade to 1750
8. A noble business: profits and costs
Part III. Sugar Society
9. A colonial slave society
10. The planters: masters of men and cane
11. The cane farmers
12. Wage workers in a slave economy
13. The Bahian slave population
14. The slave family and the limitations of slavery
Part IV. Reorientation and Persistence, 1750-1835
16. The structure of Bahian slaveholding
17. Important occasions: the war to end Bahian slavery
Sources and selected bibliography
Sources of figures
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